MechE Colloquium: Biomedical microrobots: The quest for utmost reach and precision


Event details

Date 11.10.2022
Hour 12:0013:00
Speaker Prof. Mahmut Selman Sakar, MicroBioRobotic Systems Laboratory (MICROBS), Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IGM), School of Engineering (STI), EPFL
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Abstract: All types of cells, even bacteria, demonstrate social behaviors. They engage in communication, resource sharing, and construction of higher order structures such as biofilms and tissues. Unlike engineered systems where components are expected to perform the same in isolation, tissue cultures possess emergent properties that cannot be deduced from single cell studies. Our group has been developing microrobotic manipulation tools that are integrated with automated microscopes to perform microsurgical operations, and apply spatiotemporally resolved forces within living tissues. In tandem with time-lapse imaging and computational mechanics, our toolkit allows us to deconstruct tissue morphogenesis in embryonic development and cancer, and discover mechanobiological principles to engineer designer tissues and create synthetic biological machines. I will argue that the overall methodology can be applied to study biological organization across scales and kingdoms by giving examples from social insects. Complimentary to these efforts, we invented a microrobotic technology that provides safe and rapid access for slender instruments to deep-seated tissues inside living animals via the endovascular path. I will summarize our efforts to translate this technology into the clinic for the monitoring of diagnostic signals and targeted delivery of therapeutic agents.

Biography: Mahmut Selman Sakar is a Tenure Track Assistant Professor in the Institutes of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at EPFL, and the head of the MicroBioRobotic Systems (MICROBS) Laboratory. He obtained his PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. He has done pioneering work on the development of tissue-engineered biological machines while working as a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a research scientist at ETH Zurich, exploring advanced manufacturing and magnetic manipulation techniques at microscale, before joining EPFL in 2016. His current work focuses on the applications of microrobotics technology in life and health sciences including mechanobiology, neuroscience, and minimally invasive medicine. He is a recipient of ERC Starting (2017) and Proof of Concept Grants (2021).

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



MechE Colloquium: Biomedical microrobots: The quest for utmost reach and precision